Straight Dope Message Board

Straight Dope Message Board (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/index.php)
-   In My Humble Opinion (IMHO) (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=12)
-   -   One Weird Trick... That actually works? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=801611)

amaguri 08-16-2016 11:57 AM

One Weird Trick... That actually works?
 
The thread about stupid clickbait ads made me wonder if people have any "weird tricks" that actually work?

The one that comes to mind for me is using toothpaste to clean foggy/hazy headlights. Works like magic! I'm sure any paste with very fine grit works similarly but toothpaste is handy and smells good :p

Amateur Barbarian 08-16-2016 12:00 PM

Start with the "Hints from Heloise" column and books, ca. 1940. Recycle to the present day.

Quercus 08-16-2016 02:54 PM

How about making peeling garlic easy-as-pie by smooshing the clove first?

billfish678 08-16-2016 03:08 PM

I'm just amazed that it is always MY town where these brilliant people have figured this stuff out. I must live in the Eureka of the Deep South.

Heating lemons in a the microwave for a bit does seem to help in getting the juice out.

I had to work with some epoxy the other day. Invariably I got some on me. My usual go to for getting gunk like that off is mineral spirits or gasoline or acetone or whatever other nasty solvent is handy. Often with on so so results.

I recently read somewhere that white vinegar worked. Well damn if it didn't remove that stuff better than most things I've used before. And its dirt cheap a gallon at a time too. Will try that from now on for most nasty expoxies, glues, and paints from now on first.

Trinopus 08-17-2016 12:11 AM

So what works to take off the residue of sticky-gum when you've peeled the price-tag off the front of a paperback book?

I've been using WD-40, which works...sorta, kinda, maybe, a little.

Parking: Swing wide, so the corner of your car is really close to the car in the next space, then swing inward again. (I ought to draw a picture...) Instead of trying to head directly in to the space, you head "across" the space, to the far side. When you straighten out from this, you're in the center of the space, and aligned with it.

snoe 08-17-2016 12:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trinopus (Post 19560302)
So what works to take off the residue of sticky-gum when you've peeled the price-tag off the front of a paperback book?

I've been using WD-40, which works...sorta, kinda, maybe, a little.

A product called Goo Gone was our go-to for sticker residue at the bookstore, but watch out if the surface is glossy - it can dull the finish of the area you use it on.

A plain old pencil eraser is good for non-sticky smudges on book covers.

keturah 08-17-2016 01:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trinopus (Post 19560302)
So what works to take off the residue of sticky-gum when you've peeled the price-tag off the front of a paperback book?

I've been using WD-40, which works...sorta, kinda, maybe, a little.

Parking: Swing wide, so the corner of your car is really close to the car in the next space, then swing inward again. (I ought to draw a picture...) Instead of trying to head directly in to the space, you head "across" the space, to the far side. When you straighten out from this, you're in the center of the space, and aligned with it.

Rubbing alcohol-aka isopropyl alcohol.

panache45 08-17-2016 01:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trinopus (Post 19560302)
So what works to take off the residue of sticky-gum when you've peeled the price-tag off the front of a paperback book?

Go to an art supply store, and get a can of rubber cement thinner. I use it for all sorts of things. (Being an artist, I always have some, in a convenient dispenser.)

bleach 08-17-2016 03:10 AM

Terry Moore did a three minute TED talk where he describes a superior way to tie shoelaces. The problem arose when his pair of shoes with slick laces refused to stay tied.

It's a small trick but it's a stronger form of the traditional knot.

Count Blucher 08-17-2016 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quercus (Post 19559086)
How about making peeling garlic easy-as-pie by smooshing the clove first?

Someone reminded me the other day that if you want to grow your own garlic, you plant a clove per plant... but you always plant them in the Fall.

Doug K. 08-17-2016 08:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trinopus (Post 19560302)
So what works to take off the residue of sticky-gum when you've peeled the price-tag off the front of a paperback book?

I've been using WD-40, which works...sorta, kinda, maybe, a little.

Parking: Swing wide, so the corner of your car is really close to the car in the next space, then swing inward again. (I ought to draw a picture...) Instead of trying to head directly in to the space, you head "across" the space, to the far side. When you straighten out from this, you're in the center of the space, and aligned with it.

That's going to depend on the the turning ratio of your car, the length of your car, and whether the spots are angled. Try that with my Buick and straight in (90 degree) spots and you're hitting the car in the next space unless you stop and back up a bit.

ticker 08-17-2016 08:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bleach (Post 19560469)
Terry Moore did a three minute TED talk where he describes a superior way to tie shoelaces. The problem arose when his pair of shoes with slick laces refused to stay tied.

It's a small trick but it's a stronger form of the traditional knot.

I learned this from these very pages a few years ago and it is amazing. I no longer double-knot my laces yet they rarely come undone. One small improvement on the TED presentation. In the video Terry Moore tells you to reverse step #2 of lace-tying, making the bow. Much less awkward is to reverse step #1, the initial crossover-and-under. The result is the same but I believe it takes much less effort to unlearn-relearn.

In a similar vein is this magic way to fold t-shirts. I think this comes originally from Japan but I have linked to an English language version. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAxhr0j0thY

Personal 08-17-2016 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bleach (Post 19560469)
Terry Moore did a three minute TED talk where he describes a superior way to tie shoelaces. The problem arose when his pair of shoes with slick laces refused to stay tied.

It's a small trick but it's a stronger form of the traditional knot.

I watched that a few years ago and implemented it. Previously, my laces would untie fairly often. Since my change per his instruction, it hasn't happened once. I still haven't told my parents though.

Trinopus 08-17-2016 05:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doug K. (Post 19560649)
That's going to depend on the the turning ratio of your car, the length of your car, and whether the spots are angled. Try that with my Buick and straight in (90 degree) spots and you're hitting the car in the next space unless you stop and back up a bit.

You'd be doing it wrong, then. The idea is for the corner of your car to come very close to the other guy's car, so that, in the last couple of feet, you swing away from it again, placing you right in the center of your space and aligned with it.

If you naively aim directly for the center of the space, your trailing hind corner will come too close to the car on the trailing side, and you'll be off-center in the space, too close to that guy.

Doug K. 08-17-2016 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trinopus (Post 19562171)
You'd be doing it wrong, then. The idea is for the corner of your car to come very close to the other guy's car, so that, in the last couple of feet, you swing away from it again, placing you right in the center of your space and aligned with it.

If you naively aim directly for the center of the space, your trailing hind corner will come too close to the car on the trailing side, and you'll be off-center in the space, too close to that guy.

That might work for your car, but it won't for mine. We have three vehicles, and each one requires a unique strategy to end up in the spot correctly and efficiently. In one of them aiming for the center of the space is the ONLY strategy that ends with the car properly centered.

Trinopus 08-17-2016 11:49 PM

I wish we could exchange video!

FluffyBob 08-18-2016 02:59 PM

Or just learn to back in. There is good reason people in big pick ups / vans often do it this way. Steering with the trailing wheels is far superior for parking in a tight spot. As a bonus you can actually see what you are dping when you leave.

You either have to back in or out. Out makes a lot more sense.

MrSquishy 08-18-2016 03:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FluffyBob (Post 19564361)
Or just learn to back in. There is good reason people in big pick ups / vans often do it this way. Steering with the trailing wheels is far superior for parking in a tight spot. As a bonus you can actually see what you are dping when you leave.

You either have to back in or out. Out makes a lot more sense.

I think you meant "in".

Siam Sam 08-18-2016 04:07 PM

I'm no cook, so I've not tried this myself. But I understand that peeling onions under water in the sink will eliminate the "crying" or tears effect.

Trinopus 08-18-2016 05:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FluffyBob (Post 19564361)
Or just learn to back in. . . .

Very difficult when the spaces are angled toward on-coming traffic. To back in, you have to reverse direction, which takes extra time and also extra space, blocking oncoming traffic, and even preventing someone behind you from going around you. It's glaringly less efficient for angled spaces.

Quimby 08-18-2016 10:15 PM

A lot of those Life Hack lists suggest you peel a banana "upside down" i.e. not from the stem but by pinching the bottom and I am here to tell you that works and is how I peel bananas now.

billfish678 08-19-2016 09:17 AM

Tired of your bananas ripening too fast?

As they ripen they give off a gas (I forget the name). AND the presence of that gas speeds ripening as well. So you kinda have a feedback loop there.

Well, when you have them in a bunch, they are interconnected to each other and more sealed up, so the gas is more "trapped".

Cut each banana from the bunch. Now they are no longer connected and the gas can escape through the stem. Probably helps to make the cut stem shorter as well.

Or at at least I recall it working when I tried it awhile back. Never actually did a scientific comparision...

bump 08-19-2016 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Siam Sam (Post 19564560)
I'm no cook, so I've not tried this myself. But I understand that peeling onions under water in the sink will eliminate the "crying" or tears effect.

Keep your knives really sharp and it won't be too much of an issue with most onions anyway. Every now and then you'll get an super pungent onion, but for probably 19/20 a good and sharp knife will do the trick, and keep your eyes from watering even if you're cutting up 2-3 onions at a time.

CookingWithGas 08-19-2016 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trinopus (Post 19560302)
Parking: Swing wide, so the corner of your car is really close to the car in the next space, then swing inward again. (I ought to draw a picture...) Instead of trying to head directly in to the space, you head "across" the space, to the far side. When you straighten out from this, you're in the center of the space, and aligned with it.

Good advice. Most people driving a car are only aware of the part of their car in front of them, forgetting that there is a whole lot more behind them. The guide the front wheels to the destination, which doesn't work.

CookingWithGas 08-19-2016 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by billfish678 (Post 19566336)
Tired of your bananas ripening too fast?

As they ripen they give off a gas (I forget the name).

Ethylene. Many fruits emit ethylene as they ripen, and in turn the ethylene speeds the ripening process. So put ripe bananas next to the green ones.

IvoryTowerDenizen 08-19-2016 01:30 PM

Using waxed dental floss for getting a stuck ring off your finger.

bump 08-19-2016 02:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen (Post 19567026)
Using waxed dental floss for getting a stuck ring off your finger.

How does that work?

Shagnasty 08-19-2016 02:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bump (Post 19567276)
How does that work?

You compress the skin in front of the ring by wrapping it tightly in dental floss and then unwinding it as the ring moves forward.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ2HO1loieA

enipla 08-19-2016 03:05 PM

Put bananas in the fridge. The skin will still blacken, but the fruit will be fine.

bump 08-22-2016 02:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enipla (Post 19567316)
Put bananas in the fridge. The skin will still blacken, but the fruit will be fine.

There's a caveat though; you only put them in when they're as ripe as you want them to be; the ripening process is pretty much wrecked by the cold, so even if you take them back out, they probably won't continue to ripen.

amarinth 08-22-2016 03:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bleach (Post 19560469)
Terry Moore did a three minute TED talk where he describes a superior way to tie shoelaces. The problem arose when his pair of shoes with slick laces refused to stay tied.

It's a small trick but it's a stronger form of the traditional knot.

Am I the only person for whom this doesn't work? A square knot may be more secure than a granny knot (between macrame & tatting, I know the difference), but my shoelaces still end up untying themselves.

scr4 08-22-2016 04:03 PM

If you have a stack of coffee filters (of the "basket" type, not the cone-shaped ones), turn the whole stack inside out, then back again. This makes it much easier to pick one filter off the stack. (Just like bending or fanning a ream of paper before putting it into a copier/printer)

scr4 08-22-2016 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by amarinth (Post 19573676)
Am I the only person for whom this doesn't work? A square knot may be more secure than a granny knot (between macrame & tatting, I know the difference), but my shoelaces still end up untying themselves.

Same here, I watched the video hoping for a fix, and found that I've already been doing it the "correct" way.

Chefguy 08-22-2016 04:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bump (Post 19566416)
Keep your knives really sharp and it won't be too much of an issue with most onions anyway. Every now and then you'll get an super pungent onion, but for probably 19/20 a good and sharp knife will do the trick, and keep your eyes from watering even if you're cutting up 2-3 onions at a time.

Another way to reduce the tears is to dice the onion properly. Most people peel the skin off, then slice the onion up, then dice the slices. This exposes you to large areas of onion.

A proper dice (for me) is done by slicing off the ends and peeling of the first layer, of course. Then set the onion on its end and with a sharp knife, slice the onion most of the way through in the desired width, proceeding across the entire onion. Then rotate the onion 90 degrees and do the same. This creates an in situ dice. Then turn the onion on its side and rapidly cut across your previous slicing to produce the dice you want. Videos I've seen want you to cut the onion in half first, but it seems more likely that you can cut yourself doing it that way, as it requires you to do horizontal cuts.

Blue Blistering Barnacle 08-22-2016 05:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by billfish678 (Post 19559116)
I'm just amazed that it is always MY town where these brilliant people have figured this stuff out. I must live in the Eureka of the Deep South.

Heating lemons in a the microwave for a bit does seem to help in getting the juice out.

I had to work with some epoxy the other day. Invariably I got some on me. My usual go to for getting gunk like that off is mineral spirits or gasoline or acetone or whatever other nasty solvent is handy. Often with on so so results.

I recently read somewhere that white vinegar worked. Well damn if it didn't remove that stuff better than most things I've used before. And its dirt cheap a gallon at a time too. Will try that from now on for most nasty expoxies, glues, and paints from now on first.

Vegetable oil is great for cleaning up paints and stains. I don't know if it works on epoxy. I'd recommend the cheaper corn oil, not the extra virgin olive oil. :)

I've never tried vinegar, though. Would that work on paint?

bump 08-23-2016 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chefguy (Post 19573811)
Another way to reduce the tears is to dice the onion properly. Most people peel the skin off, then slice the onion up, then dice the slices. This exposes you to large areas of onion.

A proper dice (for me) is done by slicing off the ends and peeling of the first layer, of course. Then set the onion on its end and with a sharp knife, slice the onion most of the way through in the desired width, proceeding across the entire onion. Then rotate the onion 90 degrees and do the same. This creates an in situ dice. Then turn the onion on its side and rapidly cut across your previous slicing to produce the dice you want. Videos I've seen want you to cut the onion in half first, but it seems more likely that you can cut yourself doing it that way, as it requires you to do horizontal cuts.

Unless you're really set on having exactly square dice, I've always found it best to cut the onion in half, take off the skin, cut off the non-root end, lay the onion half on the cutting board, cut side down, and start making radial cuts with your knife point toward the root end (leave the root end on- it holds the onion together as you cut). Then, once you've made as many radial cuts as you want, turn the onion 90 degrees sideways and cut down across those radial cuts, making not-quite-square or exactly even dice, but with no horizontal cutting step.

Radial cuts vs. vertical/horizontal cuts.

Chefguy 08-23-2016 11:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bump (Post 19575776)
Unless you're really set on having exactly square dice, I've always found it best to cut the onion in half, take off the skin, cut off the non-root end, lay the onion half on the cutting board, cut side down, and start making radial cuts with your knife point toward the root end (leave the root end on- it holds the onion together as you cut). Then, once you've made as many radial cuts as you want, turn the onion 90 degrees sideways and cut down across those radial cuts, making not-quite-square or exactly even dice, but with no horizontal cutting step.

Radial cuts vs. vertical/horizontal cuts.

Same idea, certainly, and probably less dangerous than my method since the onion can't roll on you.

Personal 08-23-2016 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scr4 (Post 19573795)
Same here, I watched the video hoping for a fix, and found that I've already been doing it the "correct" way.

I can say with complete confidence that in the three years or so that I have been doing it, it has not failed me, even once.

Quint 08-23-2016 12:59 PM

If you need to get rust off of old chrome, tinfoil dipped in water works like a miracle.

joyfool 08-23-2016 04:16 PM

There's a soft version of Bar Keeper's Friend that is multi-purpose and it is by far the best thing I've ever found for getting off soap scum that no other product makes a dent on. I recommend it to absolutely everyone who has a problem with that.

Doctor Jackson 08-24-2016 02:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blue Blistering Barnacle (Post 19574025)
Vegetable oil is great for cleaning up paints and stains. I don't know if it works on epoxy. I'd recommend the cheaper corn oil, not the extra virgin olive oil. :)

In patching my roof a few years ago, I got roofing tar on my hands. That stuff is like road tar in that it is very difficult to get off skin. I was out of mineral spirits, which does the trick nicely, so I was scrounging around the house for something that might work. In my wife's bathroom I saw baby oil. My thoughts went like this: Baby oil is nothing but mineral oil with perfume. Mineral spirits is a less refined version of mineral oil. Both are petroleum distillates. Hmm.

I poured some baby oil on my hands and - voila! - it took the roofing tar (also a petroleum based substance) right off. My next thought was "We put this stuff on baby's butts?!?!"

Chefguy 08-24-2016 06:10 PM

Cooking/shucking corn. Leave the husk and silk intact. Grill or nuke the corn. When it's hot, cut off the thick end of the cob, squeeze from the silk end until the ear pops out from the cut end. Throw away the silk and husk in one chunk.

jsgoddess 08-24-2016 08:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doctor Jackson (Post 19578972)
My next thought was "We put this stuff on baby's butts?!?!"

I didn't think people were still keeping it around the house after the aspiration dangers became known.

Doctor Jackson 08-25-2016 10:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jsgoddess (Post 19579707)
I didn't think people were still keeping it around the house after the aspiration dangers became known.

Like any other petroleum distillate, it should be kept out of the reach of children and only used externally (though swallowing presents no danger - it has been used a laxative for many years). The overall risk is quite small, and certainly not enough for people to ban baby oil from their homes any more than they would ban gasoline, furniture polish, paint thinners, etc.

MrSquishy 08-25-2016 12:40 PM

With all due respect Doctor Jackson, I'm not sure if you're familiar with parents of the new millennium. These are people that will ban oranges from schools and peanuts from baseball stadiums, let alone gasoline and paint thinner in their homes.

Accurate evaluation/perception of risk is just not a thing for "the kids these days".

Sunny Daze 08-25-2016 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chefguy (Post 19579520)
Cooking/shucking corn. Leave the husk and silk intact. Grill or nuke the corn. When it's hot, cut off the thick end of the cob, squeeze from the silk end until the ear pops out from the cut end. Throw away the silk and husk in one chunk.

I'm using this one.

Doctor Jackson 08-29-2016 10:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrSquishy (Post 19581156)
With all due respect Doctor Jackson, I'm not sure if you're familiar with parents of the new millennium. These are people that will ban oranges from schools and peanuts from baseball stadiums, let alone gasoline and paint thinner in their homes.

Accurate evaluation/perception of risk is just not a thing for "the kids these days".

Sigh. I believe you nailed it, MrSquishy. I guess the old trick of using WD-40 topically for arthritis is right out, then.

AllShookDown 08-29-2016 12:09 PM

Slam a jar, lid side down, on the counter (not hard enough to cause the jar to break though) and the lid will come off easily.

CookingWithGas 08-29-2016 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AllShookDown (Post 19590133)
(not hard enough to cause the jar to break though)

Well, now, that's the trick then, isn't it?

ZipperJJ 08-30-2016 01:32 AM

Vinegar and salt and a dash of dish soap does an awesome job of killing grass along a fence line.

Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and a dash of dish soap is the only way to get skunk off your dog.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:35 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.